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 Building 'Reb' - by thedragonrampant

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JayJay




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Building 'Reb' - by thedragonrampant Empty
PostSubject: Building 'Reb' - by thedragonrampant   Building 'Reb' - by thedragonrampant Icon_minitimeThu Apr 10, 2014 2:35 pm

With permission from the author, thedragonrampant, and from one of the forum admin, Jenn, here is a long piece (10,742 words) that I felt should be posted and discussed here. The essay has been broken up to fit in forum posts but is to be one single piece.

Authorship should always be attached to it. Many, many thanks to thedragonrampant for this essay.

Enjoy!

*

Building 'Reb' - by thedragonrampant (April 2014)


The creation of Reb as an alter ego is something I have spent over half a year trying to figure out. When I speak of the creation of Reb in this fashion, I speak of the character Eric fashioned for himself and referred to himself as on a regular basis. Anyone who has done a little in-depth reading on the case will undoubtedly be familiar with the nickname ‘Reb’ as an alternative for Eric. In some cases, I see Reb being used interchangeably with Eric himself. It is the way most people who knew Eric in life seem to have approached him as well: some knew him as Eric, some as Reb, some as both. But was it really just a nickname? Was the name really just a casual, ‘cooler’ way with which to sign yearbook messages and journal entries? Or was Reb something else entirely for Eric? At first, this piece was simply a vague idea born of the other piece I wrote on him last year. Gradually, over time, the connection Eric had with Reb became more apparent to me and seemed to be woven into the act of NBK seamlessly. I have relied heavily on the use of the available documentation and evidence to be able to recreate what I believe to be a significant key in understanding Eric. This piece therefore took a while to write and put together coherently. I hope to have done it justice.


Eric’s childhood does not see Reb emerge, even though the foundation for the character is undoubtedly rooted in these years. Eric is perceived to be a quiet child back then. He seems to have trailed after his older brother Kevin a lot, which is made apparent in the accounts Eric writes about those years. Kevin is a frequent companion in those stories and Eric’s writing gives off the impression that they got along very well. Kevin seems to have been the more outgoing of the two brothers, which may have made the formation of friendships back in those days a little easier. Eric even admits as much in one of his school essays where he states that he made some friends through Kevin’s help. Eric was “the shyest of them all”, but seemed to have fit in well with his peers. People who knew him before he moved to Littleton describe him as “a normal, sweet guy”. He was a teamplayer when it came to sports and struck the coach as a “timid player” who was afraid to let people down.

The Harris family overall is described as a really regular family. Both parents seem to have been invested in the wellbeing of their two boys. Wayne Harris used to take his boys fishing or play basketball with them on the driveway. The brothers were said to be polite and respectful of adults, including their parents, and described as pleasant kids to have around. There were no indications of problems within the household that could’ve had a serious impact on either of the children. The only thing that stands out from Eric’s childhood years are the many, many moves the family made. They never stayed anywhere for too long. Eric didn’t just move places and schools, but entire states away from the friends he managed to make. For an already shy and timid kid like him, it must have been difficult to keep on starting over and get used to new places and people all the time. Eric frequently mentions missing the places he used to live in and the friends he used to have.

It is not clear if Eric ever spoke with his family about how difficult the moves were for him. His brother always seemed to bounce back from the events with relative ease, going on to make new friends in new places, but Eric seems to have dug his heels in the sand and held onto all the things he was leaving behind. There is a possibility that there was an expectation in the family to just keep your chin up and move on, or just not really giving a voice to the terrifying idea of packing up and moving on. Once they got to Colorado, the brothers were split up in schools and thus also unable to rely on each other the way they’d always done. For Eric, it was likely harder to make friends in this new town than it’d been back when he’d still had his brother to trail after. Littleton is a close-knit community that does not always seem to open up well to those from the outside. Eric would later cite the move from Plattsburgh as one of the most traumatic experiences in his life.

One of the more interesting accounts from his childhood is the mention Eric makes of his reaction to fireworks back when he was a kid. He talks about that he got scared of them during a celebration, possibly around Independence Day, and hid himself in the closet until it was over. It is a far cry from the boy who’d later on be fond of everything loud and explosive, but more important than this is the way it illustrates the coping method Eric had as a young child. He is not one of the children vocalising their distress in words, cries, or screams. He’s not one of the kids freezing up at the noise and remaining in the situation. Rather, he’s the child looking for a place to hide until it goes away. He’s the child attempting to put a barrier of protection up between himself and the thing that terrifies him. Eric writes that he “hid from everyone when I wanted to be alone”. What he did through physically hiding from the world back in the day would, eventually, be something he would do with some of his thoughts and emotions as a teenager.

The first mention of Reb isn’t made in the journal or on any tapes, but saw the light on Eric’s webpages instead. Eric began keeping them in ‘96, but I believe it to be a common assumption that the ‘rebel missions’ he posted didn’t start until perhaps early ‘97. It is in those where we see Reb appear for the first time. Eric opts for the use of the name as a nickname alongside Dylan’s Vodka and Zach Heckler’s Kibbz. Both Dylan’s and Zach’s nicknames were coined for them by friends and stuck with the boys since. It is, however, not very clear where Eric’s nickname comes from. It is entirely possible that it, too, was coined by friends, but it is also highly likely that he chose it for himself. The latter avenue might explain why the name (a shortening of the word ‘rebel’) ties in so neatly with the ‘rebel missions’ it was first used for. The possibility of it being self-chosen is interesting, because that makes the name intrinsically connected with the ideals that Eric himself held in high esteem. It would not be a moniker like Dylan’s Vodka, given by friends for a random reason, but it would be something that’d speak volumes about the person Eric was.

After the massacre, a few of the witnesses were quoted saying that they didn’t even know Eric’s real name. He had always insisted on being called Reb. The nickname had transformed itself into a real name over the course of months following those first rebel missions. Eric was addressed as Reb at work on a constant basis and one of his coworkers is quoted as saying she “knew him as Reb”. Eric signs the “R” of Reb beside his name on work papers, as he would later also carve it into one of his weapons used during the massacre. He signs yearbook entries alternating between Eric and Reb, with Eric writing the friendly standard messages and Reb writing the “kill ‘em all”-thematics. Even his friends seem to have referred to him as Reb on a fair few occasions. Dylan consistently refers to Eric as Eric in the privacy of his own journal, but calls him Reb during the massacre and the last-ever basement tape filmed prior to it. It gives off the impression that the nickname was the preferred name to use for NBK — almost as though the very act of NBK would erase all of Eric and just leave Reb in his place. Reb became seemingly synonymous with the massacre over the course of the final year of Eric’s life.

The first clear warning signs for Reb being more than just a casual reference can all be seen from the year ‘98 onward. It is this year that sees the end of the rebel missions Reb used to belong to. It is in this year, also, where Eric first expresses his own concern about what is going on inside his mind. The end of ‘97 saw a pretty big argument between Eric and Brooks Brown that eventually even involved law enforcement. The explosive rage with which Eric reacted to a seemingly normal fight between friends is not normal by any standards, although certainly quite understandable at the same time, and the consistent threats he expressed afterward do not seem to lessen in intensity as time progresses. He is unable to let go of being wronged, of being cornered, and he never makes that first step back to friendly acknowledgement of Brooks on his own. The ongoing rift between Brooks and himself would not be the last time Eric was confronted with law enforcement in an influential position on his life.

One event that had a major impact on Eric was the van break-in he committed with Dylan in January of ‘98. His description of the event gives off the impression that the break-in itself was a rash and spontaneous decision. He expresses he “does not have a realistic reason” why they opted for it, and states that he “didn’t think”. To me, the entire affair has always read as something that was born out of boredom. Friday night, nothing to do, hanging out with your best friend, killing time together, and suddenly there’s this van with a lot of random equipment you’re both pretty tech-savvy about in the first place. Ordinarily, of course, you’d ignore it.. but Dylan and Eric had a way of egging one another on, of reinforcing the other’s idea that may or may not have started out as a joke, and it shows in the fact that they broke into the van and dragged everything they found out of there. The boys weren’t such savvy criminals being smart about their loot, and they weren’t so clever once they got caught either. Dylan was the pragmatic one of the two and divided the responsibility for it evenly between them; Eric shoved all the blame for the idea straight onto Dylan. No matter whose idea it was, though, both boys were eventually put into a ‘diversion program’.

The information the boys and their parents had to fill out as a result of the break-in and subsequent diversion program is some of the most illuminating material we have on the psyches of the two. It is a very telling thing that Dylan glossed over his problems completely. He seemed hellbent on making sure nobody really knew what was going on. It was eventually Dylan who surprised everyone. Eric, in contrast, is much more open about what is going on. I have often said that diversion is possibly the only instance where I see a truly honest Eric. It is the time where the plan for the eventual massacre isn’t yet formed at the level it would evolve into. It is the moment where Eric has an instance of self-realisation and knows that whatever’s going on with him isn’t good for him. He reaches out strongly, admitting to aggression and jealousy and almost a dozen other problems, and tells them he is open to receiving help. In the same questionnaire, Eric vaguely scratches a half-mark at ‘homicidal ideation’ and circles ‘more than twice’ when asked if he’s ever had thoughts of suicide.

It is not clear how much Eric’s problems were picked up on in the therapy that followed. In a regular therapeutical setting, homicidal and suicidal ideations are treated with the utmost caution. It is difficult for the therapist to gauge how serious it is and how likely it is that someone would act on it. Even here, the confidentiality agreement a therapist strikes up with the person being treated complicates matters thoroughly. Eric could’ve very easily said he wanted to “hurt people” and it would not have been cause for action unless and until he would begin naming them.  We currently do not have access to the therapy files, which makes it a lot more difficult to see if Eric remained honest throughout. He seems to have been genuinely open to the treatment at first, but there is a marked change in Eric in the first few months of ‘98 all the same.


_________________
"Is evil something you are? Or is it something you do? My pain is constant and sharp and I do not hope for a better world for anyone. In fact, I want my pain to be inflicted on others. I want no one to escape."
- American Psycho - Bret Easton Ellis (1991)


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PostSubject: Re: Building 'Reb' - by thedragonrampant   Building 'Reb' - by thedragonrampant Icon_minitimeThu Apr 10, 2014 2:36 pm

In April that year, Eric begins to keep a journal. It is a piece of writing that starts out with the cry that would eventually begin to lead a life of its own: “I hate the fucking world!”. Official research took the journal at face value to the point where one of the people working on the case was quoted as saying “my god, he’s telling us why he did it”. I can’t help but think that this approach would’ve been very satisfactory for Eric, who began his journal at a point where he already seems to have known that he may be writing it for an audience. The journal itself is an exercise in provocation, filled to the brim with all his random thoughts and ideologies, and reads as a never-ending flirtation with the rage and hatred he cultivated for most of humanity. Eric’s words read as an amplification of the things already running rampant through his mind, but they are in no way the entirety of the story. There are fleeting moments where we can catch an other, quieter boy behind the pages of his writing.

The persona of Reb we see emerging in the pages of the journal is somebody I only have one word for: rücksichtslos. (This German term encompasses both recklessness and ruthlessness, as well as uncompromising and even insensitive. It is a far, far better fit than any word in English would ever be — and, perhaps, it is only right that it is used in this one instance for a boy who loved the language so.) Reb comes from the depths of what Jungian psychology describes as ‘the shadow self’, which is the part of the self that is largely instinctive and irrational. The shadow is everything that a person will ordinarily refuse to acknowledge about themselves, and it is often the personification of the qualities and impulses that the person perceives as being negative in others. According to Jung himself, the shadow can sometimes overwhelm a person’s actions when the conscious mind is in a state of shock or confusion. It must be the conscious mind that integrates the shadow self or has ongoing awareness of the state of the shadow self, but it must never be the other way around where the shadow ends up becoming the ‘pilot’ of the autonomous mind.

Of course, Eric had no real hold on Reb. The year prior to the massacre sees him spiral into the shadow self deeper and deeper. He is dimly aware of how hypocritical his views are as he states instances like “I make fun of people who look like me; sometimes without even thinking, sometimes because I just want to rip on myself”. Yet, more often than not, it’s the raging hatred of Reb that has the upper hand. The shadow self settled into Eric’s conscious mind completely to the point where it would become hard for him to keep it together. Months before the massacre, he struggles with the chokehold Reb has on him and the difficulty he has in suppressing him to the point where he speaks the words “I might need to put on one helluva mask here to fool you all some more”. Eric is completely in denial that anything is the matter with him now. He is aware that he is building up something huge in preparation for the eventual massacre. He is aware that he is working with the shadow of Reb to an extent, but fails to see how caught up he is in the construct itself.

Perhaps the singularly most worrying sentence in Eric’s entire journal is the following from its second entry: “that’s why my name is REB!”. It is one of the blink-and-you’ll-miss-it instances, especially because it is written at the end of a run-on sentence ranting against being told what to do. It is the first time Eric identifies with the Reb-persona to the point where he no longer distinguishes between himself and Reb at all. It is no longer the name he carved out for himself during the rebel missions. It is no longer just a nickname for his friends to refer to him with. This is him, all of Reb, spilling out onto the page for the first time. This is the instance on which something changes in Eric and shifts to adjust to a new state of being. There is no clear divide that says where Eric ends and Reb begins, or vice versa, but in the journal itself almost all the words come from Reb. He tests the waters in his first entries, but gradually becomes more assured in his use of the persona as a ventilation channel for his feelings. It is interesting to note that this entry marks the first mention of Reb in several months, too, and is immediately about Reb in the defining role of the persona Eric built up for himself.

The exclamation of the name in the journal follows hot on the heels of his anger at being told what to do by everyone in a position of authority. The rebel child doesn’t want to have anyone lord anything over him at all. It grates on him that parents, cops and teachers tell him how to behave. He wants to decide for himself — shouldn’t he decide this for himself, he almost asks, being higher than almost everyone in the world in terms of intelligence and awareness? — and he needs to be able to live through his own rights and wants as he sees fit. Surprisingly, and yet fittingly, Eric also includes ‘God’ as someone telling him what to do — undoubtedly, a part of this frustration comes from the major influence Christianity has on the community in Littleton. God would not only come up in random conversation, but some people would actually actively work to ‘witness’ to ‘non-believers’. We know that this got on the last nerve of both boys, as evidenced through their words in the basement tapes, and it is not a far stretch to assume that Eric’s frustration with ‘God’ is in fact mostly due to the behaviour of those testifying about God’s existence. In the same entry, one sentence after his first acknowledgement of Reb, he says that he “feels like God” and wishes that he actually was like a deity so that everyone would officially be lower than him in status and existence. The stress he places on the word ‘officially’ in this fragment leads me to believe that Eric would see himself as superior no matter if anyone else acknowledged it or not — another way to place himself on the pedestal he would eventually topple from.

This entire entry, written on 4/12/98, can be tied back to the van break-in from January. The rant slowly turns against ‘the land of the free’ not allowing him to deprive someone of his possessions if said someone is stupid enough to leave them sitting in the front seat of the van “in plain sight and in the middle of fucking nowhere” on a Friday night. It is here where Eric also notes “sorry is just a word; it doesn’t mean shit to me”. It is not just the act of the van break-in he speaks of now, but a deeper-seated abhorrence of the word that should mean an apology. Perhaps he’d heard it a million times before as an insincere offering and got hurt by it personally, or perhaps it was a simple frustration that he should be the one to apologise for anything while he was on such a different level from everyone else. In a later entry, Eric seems to reinforce the former of the two options with his “I don’t forget people who wronged me”. He held a lot of personal grudges during his stay in Colorado and it is not a far stretch to assume that apologies meant nothing to him once he’d been hurt enough by someone.

It is interesting to place this entry side-by-side with the letter of apology Eric was meant to write for diversion around the same time as this entry. It is a complete 180 between Reb’s rage in the journal and Eric’s major act of contrition in the letter itself. Another note from the diversion papers, written on 4/16/98, details that Eric mentions having problems with the ‘medication against depression’ he was recently put on to the point where he would no longer be taking it. He spoke of being unable to concentrate ‘a few nights ago’ and that he felt restless. It would not be a surprise to me to hear that the entry was written on that exact night on which he was suffering from the impact of the medication he was put on so very recently. This may very well have exacerbated his existing anger and his feelings of separation toward humanity even more. For the next two weeks, Eric would be off his medication.

The next entry, dated 4/21/98, is also remarkable. It was made in the middle of his transition period between medications. It also heralds the first mention of NBK by name. The mention is wedged in the middle of a rant, spoken of so casually that it makes me believe it is not the first time it has entered Eric’s mindscape, and crystal clear: “when I go NBK”. It is not a question of ‘if’ at this point in time — almost exactly one year prior to the massacre, Eric is already convinced it’ll be a ‘when’. A little further on in the entry, Eric acknowledges that his doctor wants to put him on medication. He does not mention depression as the major cause for why he is taking it, but instead offers “to stop thinking about so many things and to stop getting so angry”. Eric’s rally against the medication is almost a flurry of panic and rage, next, as he tries to cling to the things that make him so very different that are exactly the things that he feels the medication would take away from him. He turns all of this confusion happening inside himself outward once more and sharply remarks “I bet most of you fuckers can’t even think that deep, so that is why you must die”. His indignance is tangible on the page as he writes “how dare you think that you and I are part of the same species when we are sooooo different”, and then out comes the hurt at being put on the medication to help him stop what he is thinking and to have him ‘go back to society’. The hurt turns to anger in the blink of an eye — he rebels against the notion so completely that he ends up writing one of his more famous quotes in the process: “I will sooner die than betray my own thoughts”.

He begins to sign his previously unsigned journal with Reb in late June of ‘98, which is a practice he drops again after his last July entry. This initial signing roughly coincides with the new medication he was put on taking effect. Eric mentioned not yet feeling its effects back in mid-May, but it is clear from the diversion files that the situation with the medication had evened itself out in June. The entries he makes in May are remarkable in the sense that they are the most coherent and the most honest view of the world Eric could possibly provide. He speaks at length about how human nature is essentially dumbed down and constricted by the rules and laws society imposes upon us. There is no utopia. Eric states that we are constantly, consistently, being lied to and that he can only be blinded for so long. He prides himself visibly and continuously on his ability to see this world for what it, in his opinion, really is. He expresses that he feels that the human race isn’t worth fighting for and that we should give this Earth back to the animals who’re more deserving of it than we are. The act of murder is a casual, glib mention in the early stages of June where he expands on these ideas and comes out with “no one should survive”. No one, not even Eric himself, should stay alive. He amends that latter statement slightly in the same entry and ponders the merits of just attacking the so-called civilised world and leaving the more nature-based tribes alone.


_________________
"Is evil something you are? Or is it something you do? My pain is constant and sharp and I do not hope for a better world for anyone. In fact, I want my pain to be inflicted on others. I want no one to escape."
- American Psycho - Bret Easton Ellis (1991)
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PostSubject: Re: Building 'Reb' - by thedragonrampant   Building 'Reb' - by thedragonrampant Icon_minitimeThu Apr 10, 2014 2:37 pm

Over the course of time, Eric sticks with these opinions and expands on them. The very fact that NBK was meant to be a bombing showcases how indiscriminate he was: everyone should die, or survive and be traumatised forever. Eric takes full ownership of the act as early as July ‘98, where he states “it’s MY fault!” in terms of when he starts killing and doing damage. He is adamant that nobody else but him should be blamed — an idea that he would uphold until his dying day. Eric exhonorates his parents and every other influence in his life from the plan completely. NBK is on him. NBK is on Dylan. NBK isn’t on anyone else’s shoulders but theirs. He is adamant in this throughout all of his mentions of the massacre. He never lays the blame for any of it at the feet of his parents, even though his relationship with them was not always easy. There is quite a bit of pressure on Eric to conform, to be ‘the good son’, and there must have been some resentment on his part for all the uprootment he went through as a child. There doesn’t seem to be a truly healthy, open emotional outlet for Eric inside of his family. Yet, he continues to absolve them of the act of NBK — all responsibility for it falls back on Reb, who’s the only one who can possibly carry that responsibility.

By Eric’s own admission, he lies “almost constant and to everybody just to keep my own ass out of the water”. He is putting on an act for almost everyone who knows him by this time in November ‘98. His mention of some lies like “sorry for doing it, not for getting caught” (the van break-in?) and “I haven’t been making more bombs” is particularly interesting, because this goes to show just how much trust his family put in him and how much he was able to pull the wool over people’s eyes in general. Even the people working with him in diversion continuously referred to him as a nice guy and one statement even said how he was “going to succeed in life”. In this entry, too, he states how he is very hypocritical for being a liar himself when he hates other lying people. He goes on to say how it’s okay for him to be a hypocrite “because I am higher than you people”, but that is not the thing that stands out in this admission of hypocrisy. Instead, the stand-out factor is the connecting factor the statement has to a later statement: “I make fun of people who look like me”. What Eric hates in others, he also hates in himself. He tries to rise above that by making himself ‘more godlike’ so he is not on the same level as these other people anymore, but these statements are nonetheless an interesting peek into the inner world of a boy who never felt ‘good enough’.

The mid-November entry sees Eric rant on how he may not be able to get his hands on guns, but that rant only last a second. It evolves into a rant about something else entirely, neatly sliding into the same theme of hating in others what he hates in himself, and it is this that dominates the relatively short entry. It is one of the few mentions we actually have of Eric being bullied/made fun of. “Everyone is always making fun of me for how I look”, he writes, and this is followed up immediately with “I will get you all back”. It is probably this entry that gave way to a lot of the early theories on bullying being a massive contributing factor in the ‘why’ of Columbine, especially because Eric calls it “ultimate fucking revenge”. Eric says very clearly here that he wanted more respect, wanted people to ask for his knowledge/guidance more, wanted to be treated better, and wanted people to treat him as ‘senior’. The fact that people pick on him exactly for the things he has always hated in himself, such as the way he looks, is something that just rubs more salt into already open wounds. Eric retaliates by picking on other people and acknowledges that this is mainly because he wants to “rip on myself”. He speaks very openly about where a lot of his hate comes from: his lack of self-esteem. He knows that he externalises what he feels about himself. This entry is the closest I have seen Eric get to understanding the need for and existence of Reb in his life.

About five days after this entry, Eric writes the longest entry of the entire journal. He is back in Reb-mode for the most part, opening with “hate! I’m full of hate and I love it!”, and there is no more sign of vulnerability here. He’s back on his pedestal of how human nature will inevitably lead toward humanity’s downfall. People’s nature is what will get them killed. (Another piece of irony here, considering the fact that Eric himself preached living through your instincts and going back to the roots of human nature.) Eric has observed humanity for a long time, and it is here where he clearly states he doesn’t like what he sees. It is on the subject of the nature of humanity, government forms, even Nazism, where Eric becomes so passionate that he almost loses his tight leash of self-control. He acknowledges that he shows too much of himself now. He’s scared of having people find out what he is up to, what he is planning right under their noses, and he specifically notes that he might have to don another mask to fool them all until that time. It’s here where we see the careful cultivation of the shadow self and the switchover that follows: Reb bubbling with rage and hate underneath the surface, ready and waiting to take over, and Eric becoming the mask to hide behind. It is becoming “hard to hold out until April”.

The same entry includes two other subjects that have frequently been linked together in writings on Eric. Eric himself, however, separates the two quite clearly with the words “that’s another thing”. One of the subjects is his sexual fantasy, whereas the other is about torturing and killing people. The bridge between them is defined thusly: the sexual fantasy evolves into a mention of a NIN lyric, and that same band has another video about someone getting kidnapped and tortured. It is an easy enough connection to make, but yet this association of one thing with the other in almost the same breath has led some to be concerned that the subjects of sex and pain/death were synonymous in Eric’s mind. I don’t believe this to be the exact case. It is true that he speaks about dominating a woman, sure, and overpowering someone with the animalistic sexual vibe. It’s true that he writes not a few sentences later that he wants to tear someone’s throat out with his teeth. Yet, the two subjects seem to be very clearly divided in Eric’s own mind regardless of their common theme being about power and Eric being in control. There is no definite evidence that could lead to an assumption that it is the violence of the latter that ‘turns Eric on’, nor can we conclude that the act of sex would inevitably always evolve into a physical assertation of dominance through such extremities.

The last November entry sees Eric getting his hands on guns. It is very telling that Eric calls this event “the point of no return”, as though the act of NBK was still not real to him until he was fully capable of pulling it off in the physical reality. Also interesting is the one clear mention of his dad in the privacy of his journal. Eric addresses Wayne directly with a “I would have loved it if you were there, dad” and “we would have done some major bonding; would’ve been great” when he talks about the gun show he went to. The entire vibe of it comes across as that Eric misses the quality time he used to have with his father (they used to go fishing and Wayne played basketball with the kids back in the day) and that he misses the time prior to the complications that arose with all the lying and trouble he got himself into. Eric mentions in the same entry that he got into trouble when he confided in someone about his flask. He writes that now people will be on his ass even more about being “on track” — it is not specified what he means with this, but it’d be a logical assumption to say that his parents had a certain idea in mind of what their son was going to do after school. Eric is expected to ‘get with the program’, in a sense, and so he is going to do his damndest best to make everyone believe that this is what he’s gonna do.

Of course, he is not going to get with the program at all. Eric is now completely focused on the prospect of NBK. He says that NBK is what he is motivated for, even makes it into his only actual goal, and that it is what he wants to do with his life. He seems to be surprised at the fact that just the idea of being armed is enough to stop him from feeling like he wants to punch through a door. The energy he used to spend on those random outbursts slowly seeps into the one idea of ‘just you wait’, and merely the thought of being armed to the teeth is enough to keep the physical expression of anger at bay. Eric notes in the same entry that he feels “more confident, stronger, and more Godlike”. There is a level of confidence, and I would also say callousness, in him through the acquisition of the guns that Eric has not always expressed consistently before. Being armed is what gives him power — the idea that he could finally dictate who lives and dies is the thing that makes him feel most like a God.

The first December entry is significant, again, because Eric mentions having used their firearms in practice for the first time. There is a moment of near-childishness as he says he’s named one of his after a character from Doom. Eric mentions the trouble he has in keeping up with his homework inbetween all the lying and working on his bombs/guns. This seems to be in-keeping with the fact that quite a few of his grades dropped a bit in the final months before the massacre. Not enough to be really worrisome to anyone, but still a significant sign that Eric wasn’t completely focused on his schoolwork anymore. It is also in this entry where Eric says that he never really liked alcohol and that it wasn’t his thing. He does note that it ‘felt good to have around’, which seems to give off the impression that he just had it around as another rebellious streak rather than something he actually personally enjoyed for its effects. (It must also be noted that the combination of alcohol with the medication he was cycling himself on and off of was not a good combination. Eric seems to have utilised the medication as a means to alternately hone his focus and lose himself in dreamscapes, which would have rendered the effects of alcohol completely obsolete to him.)

Here, too, Eric mentions the argument he’s had about the flask back in November. He says that he “should’ve won a fucking Oscar” for the way he handled it. Note that this particular entry is placed roughly two weeks after the original argument, so it must have been a major one that preoccupied him for a good long while. Eric seems to have used every skill he’s got just to make sure that his parents would buy his arguments. At the same time, he treats the whole deal wonderfully childlike when he says he “even quoted a few movies”. It seems to be a game to him to pull the wool over people’s eyes. Yet, he also seems to get stressed out about the fact that the argument exists in the first place and has had enough lasting repercussions (perhaps a loss of trust?) to concern him even now. Almost immediately after this, he notes “and hey goddammit I would have been a fucking great Marine”. This is often taken to be a separate mention similar to all the other times he’s jumped from one subject to the other in the span of a single sentence. Yet, I’m not so sure that this is the case in this instance. The mention of him as a Marine is coupled with two things, namely “it would have given me a reason to do good” and “I would never drink and drive, either”. The first is undoubtedly Eric’s own sentiment of why he wanted to be a Marine and gives off the impression that he needed to belong somewhere where his actions would have been welcomed as being ‘good’. The second, however, is a very strange addendum until you couple it with the argument that he had about the flask. A moment of speculation on my end is that Eric was told, in the heat of the argument, something along the lines of that he would “never make a good Marine” if he continued to behave this irresponsibly and that perhaps even a comment like “next thing you know, you’ll be busted for a DUI and then you can forget all about making the cut for the Marine Corps!” was thrown in there for good measure. Eric seems to be addressing someone specific as he writes that he would’ve made a great Marine, so why not have this argument be the reason why he said it in the first place?

The other December entries are short and to the point. It is interesting that he mentions as late as these entries that he hasn’t figured out how to time the bombs or how to get them into the commons unseen. The focus in the earlier months seems to have been more about getting the firearms and the minor bombs to work, but now that this is almost sorted Eric finally finds the time to refocus on how to get the crucial stage of his plan to work. The last December entry does see him talk about how he needs to get Dylan another gun, which makes the dynamic between the two boys that much more obvious. Eric was all about the practicality of things and getting things done in time. He doesn’t seem to mind that the responsibility for getting the material means to go NBK falls square on his shoulders. I would even, perhaps, suggest that Eric wanted to keep that modicum of control over how things are handled.


_________________
"Is evil something you are? Or is it something you do? My pain is constant and sharp and I do not hope for a better world for anyone. In fact, I want my pain to be inflicted on others. I want no one to escape."
- American Psycho - Bret Easton Ellis (1991)
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PostSubject: Re: Building 'Reb' - by thedragonrampant   Building 'Reb' - by thedragonrampant Icon_minitimeThu Apr 10, 2014 2:38 pm

The rest of the entries are pretty unremarkable. He mentions his love of the philosophers Hobbes and Nietzsche in one, which is not surprising given one’s words on the state of nature and the other’s words surrounding existentialism. Eric wonders if anyone will write a book on him, and then amends the statement saying that he wants it to be a good book when that’s the case. He notes in the same entry that there is a lot of symbolism going on in his life, filled with double meanings and themes throughout, and that there is also a lot of “appearances vs reality shit” going on at the same time. Here, he undoubtedly refers to the later mention that everything he hears and sees gets connected to NBK somehow. It is also, however, a reference to how much Eric himself played with appearances versus reality. The reality is that Reb is bubbling up just below the surface and that Eric himself is simply a mask to wear until it’s time to ‘play’. He appears to be a regular kid trying to sort his life out, but only one other person (Dylan) knows that there is not going to be much of a life left come April. The mention of the new KMFDM album, entitled ‘Adios’, being scheduled for an April release seems to have amused Eric: he writes that it is an appropriate, subliminal tribute to Reb and Vodka. This goes to show not only that April was a fixed point in the plans, but also shows how he connected loose ideas to NBK and how he saw the characters of Reb and Vodka throughout the experience. Reb and Vodka are the ones to pay your respects to, to dedicate the ‘Adios’ to in tribute, as they are the ones executing the plan in April.

Eric does not write in his journal from the end of December of ‘98 until his very last entry in April ‘99. The months inbetween are unknown factors to the journal, which makes it more difficult to see the impact of Reb in the final months of his life. It could very well be true that Eric did not feel the need to update his journal with everything leading up to NBK until by the time they were ready to make their move. However, it may also be a possibility that the entries from these months were never released to the public in the same way that a lot of other information is missing from the pile of evidence. Law enforcement may have made that decision based on the ‘copycat’ argument they also use for the basement tapes, or for another purpose entirely: what if those months of the journal would not mesh with the image they felt Eric should have in public? We know that they have been pushing the psychopath argument for as long as anyone can remember and there have been attempts at covering up law enforcement’s mistakes before. It’s a stab in the dark, really, to assume that it is not a complete journal.. but the more I read through it, the more I am left feeling that something is missing from this time.

The only thing we have to go on now for the ‘missing’ months are the basement tapes, filmed from March to April in ‘99, and they do not shed a whole lot of light on the case either. One of the tapes is entitled “Reb’s tape” and details the purchase of the rest of their gear as well as a solo recording of Eric. This recording is not, as one might expect, solely based within the Reb-persona. It starts off with Eric speaking about his family and apologising for the agony he knew his coming actions would put them through. He stresses that it was not their fault. He speaks about how it’s been “hard on him lately”, especially because people have been getting on his case for putting things like the application for the marines off. Then, there’s a moment that almost reads like an intermission between Eric and Reb: he mentions that this is his final week on earth, gets an ‘odd look’ on his face and spats “fucking bitches”. He lists off five names. Interestingly, Eric is still of the opinion here that he will “get shot and die”. Finally, he turns the camera toward his journal. It is proud Reb speaking now, dubbing his writings “the Writings of God”, and he flicks through the journal while speaking about his beliefs. He says that his beliefs have changed over the course of the year while he was writing. Eric then turns to the drawings he made at the back of the journal. One of them details something called the “suicide plan”, but it was a drawing concerning two backpacks filled with napalm. As we know now, of course, they did not have any of that with them in their final hours. It seems to have been very unclear for them how much ammo and material they could get their hands on before NBK, because Eric mentions in the same tape that NBK will be on Monday and we know it got pushed back one day since then due to similar material issues. It is interesting that so much of the plan still is left up to chance and possibility at this stage in time, even though the plan itself was something they meticulously structured over the course of the past year.

Some people have claimed that the lack of planning on this part means that Eric and Dylan themselves weren’t certain of whether NBK was the way to go. The argument certainly has merit when you pitch things like Dylan’s journal entry from January, where he still expresses doubt over ‘going NBK’, and Eric’s ‘up to chance’ approach to the materials needed against the overall structure and significance of NBK. However, there is also a strong case to be made for the fact that Dylan’s depression would give him little leeway in actively pursuing the list of things needed for that day. On Eric’s part, the lack of coherency is even more significant. It is one of the few things that truly hints at the state of mind he was in during the final months of his life. There is active warfare going on behind the mask he himself professed to wear. Not a warfare directed at the society he would target during NBK, but a warfare waged on his own mind. Eric was battling Reb, who’d now slowly gained the upper hand and a measure of control over Eric’s life, and he was losing ground fast. It wasn’t so much carelessness on Eric’s part that the plans were not devised in full the way they could have been. Rather, it was a sign that there were bigger things going on in the boy’s mind than whether or not they’d have all the stuff they needed.

Eric mentions more than once how hard it’s been to ‘let go’ of things. In the months leading up to NBK, he is slowly detaching himself from the world and people around him. He does not make any plans for the future the way Dylan does with his university plans. Sure, there’s the loose plan to apply for the Marines.. but Eric mentions at the same time that his parents have been getting on his back for putting a lot of things off. He seems to put a halt to his life slowly but surely. He doesn’t make any solid plans for after April the way Dylan does. He doesn’t pretend that he is going to have much of a life after graduation. Eric is detaching wholly from everything that could have been possible for him. He has his heart and mind set on one goal and one goal only: NBK. He shouts ‘from the rooftops’ in the privacy of his journal that this is what he wants to do with his life. It’s here where we see elation: he’s gonna do what he always talked about doing and nobody on this planet has the power to stop him. He’s finally on top of the world. Reb’s the king of the universe, deciding who lives and who dies, and all the months leading up to NBK are necessary detachment from every emotion that could get in the way of the grand masterplan. It’s tough on Eric, sure, but everything he leaves behind makes Reb’s assurance that much more powerful. Reb was the guy who did everything Eric would never have done, said things that Eric himself had no safe outlet to say, and eventually took the upper hand throughout the months we have taken an in-depth look at here.

It is only in the last-ever journal entry where we receive a glimpse of Eric. The rant before it spoke of being left out of fun things, even though people had ways to contact him and ask him to come along. The glimpse we get of Eric is the ending note of his journal, left unsigned, that speaks of him briefly and unfavourably: “no no no dont let the weird looking Eric KID come along, ohh fucking nooo”. It is a sentence tainted with the hurt of being rejected and being secluded from things by his peers. It speaks of Eric as weird-looking yet again, but more importantly is the reference to himself as a “kid”. Eric knows that this is the way in which he is seen by virtually anyone. The vitriol in the word ‘kid’ is tangible on the page, standing out starkly against a journal from someone who fashioned himself a man unlike any other, and it is apparent that this was the term others used to describe Eric with as well. It’s not the affectionate or exasperated ‘kid’ I throw around on my own blog as an address to both boys and Eric in particular, either, but rather an expression of how little Eric meant to the direct society he found himself in. He was just the ‘kid’. The throw-away, don’t-think-twice-about-him kid with the accent from everywhere and nowhere. The kid who always started at the bottom of the ladder and never worked his way back up again. There is no strong Reb they can see with which he can fool them into thinking that he has the power in any given situation. Reb isn’t there to hold onto when the rejection is still fresh, and all the rage in the world can’t erase the pain of being on his own. There is just Eric in these moments— and Eric doesn’t like Eric very much at all.

All the preparations listed the possibility that death would not be a suicide. There is a certain intent at times, especially on Eric’s part, to die during a confrontation with law enforcement. As late as the final week, Eric considered the option “get shot and die” a valid one. It is Eric who first engages in a shoot-out with someone who could’ve severely injured him if circumstances allowed it very early on in the massacre. There is a carelessness on Eric’s part where he does not follow Dylan into the school straight away and even comes back after having entered it the first time just so he can exchange gunfire with the deputy on-site. He has written in his journal that he “ain’t going out without a fight”, and a fight seems to have been what he was after the most. Dying in the process would almost be welcome.

During the massacre, Eric is relatively quiet in comparison with his companion. His demeanour is calm, collected even, and betrays nothing of the race-track mind he demonstrated in his journal. Eric is the more focused one of the duo throughout. He pays some of Dylan’s louder, crazed comments no attention at all. Eric seems to be in his own little universe, almost, and is business-like in his executions. His demeanour can best be explained in his own words from a journal entry stemming from October ‘98: “I have a goal to destroy as much as possible so I must not be sidetracked by my feelings of sympathy, mercy, or any of that, so I will force myself to believe that everyone is just another monster from Doom like FH or FS or demons, so it’s either me or them. I have to turn off my feelings.” This quote is, perhaps, the strongest clue to the full implementation of Reb as a coping mechanism. Eric needs to be able to turn off his emotions and any connection to empathy when he is to do what he eventually set out to do. It is not a coincidence that Reb seems to have been built out of a callous disregard for most of humanity, a hatred of the current system, and a business-like method of executing all he deems to be unworthy of life. All of Eric’s energy of the past months of his life seems to have been poured into Reb entirely to make sure that he does not waver from his plan. Reb is the failsafe that keeps Eric from deviating.

Varying witnesses state that Eric seems to have been disoriented and dizzied from the recoil of his shotgun that broke his nose. It is not a far stretch to assume that the pain of it snapped his previous focus on the kill quite severely. The sustainment of the injury is one of the key defining moments within the day itself for Eric. It is not the injury itself that’s the most fascinating, but the psychological ramifications of it are bigger than they seem at first glance. Eric carried one item with him that day as a talisman that would give him strength and provide healing: the berserk he listed as one of his twenty-five favourite things. It is the only item that speaks of Eric as much as it does Reb. It’s the sort of thing a child would cling to and create for himself during a time of emotional upheaval. At the same time, it is an item with the name that reminds of the battle-frenzied warriors whose fighting style was trance-like and unflinchingly brutal. The sustainment of the injury would render the power of the berserk completely obsolete. It breaks the idea that Reb is all-powerful and unable to be hurt, but it also provides a window for Eric to come back into the picture this way. The broken nose doesn’t just complicate Eric’s ability to focus on the ‘task’ set out before him, but it also complicates the strained and entangled bond he had with the part of his personality that was in power at the time significantly. When Reb is powerless, dizzied by his own stupidity for a moment, there is quiet in Eric’s mind. It speaks in his demeanour toward one of the witnesses he spoke with straight after the fact, but stays with him throughout the rest of the massacre. The bravado fades in the light of the sustained injury slowly but surely.

But why? Children often create characters for themselves while playing games. They create themselves to be powerful, invincible, in control, and all the things they want to be when they’re ‘grown up’. Quite often, these created characters are based on ideas they get from pop culture. (It is interesting to note the connection the boys themselves had to pop culture, such as the movie Natural Born Killers, to the point where clear emulations in ideas and style can be seen.) We know from Eric’s writings that he loved the games he used to play with friends and kids from the neighbourhood and that a fair few of them featured imaginary battles and the whole ‘saving the world’-deal. It is likely that the creation of Reb was a subconscious call-back to the time in Eric’s childhood where he always imagined himself to be on top of the universe. The motivation for the massacre in this regard is not just revenge or revolution, but also the assumption of the role speaking of a protective stance toward the planet and the need for eradication of any deemed unworthy to live on it. It is the power of childhood creationism getting stuck in the mind of someone needing that strong character to be his own saviour just as much as the same character would become the ruin of others. To have Reb fade away in his head, even for a moment, would be to invite the doubt and hurt belonging to Eric back into play. The character is broken momentarily.


_________________
"Is evil something you are? Or is it something you do? My pain is constant and sharp and I do not hope for a better world for anyone. In fact, I want my pain to be inflicted on others. I want no one to escape."
- American Psycho - Bret Easton Ellis (1991)
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PostSubject: Re: Building 'Reb' - by thedragonrampant   Building 'Reb' - by thedragonrampant Icon_minitimeThu Apr 10, 2014 2:38 pm

The other moment that would be the key defining moment for Eric was the failed detonation of the bombs. It is my belief that the boys thought throughout the massacre in the library that the bombs could still go off any second. They ventured down into the commons with the thought that they’d enable the detonation through shooting at them or doing something else to them. It is, admittedly, Dylan tinkering with them and taking more risks with them than Eric. Yet, it is Eric who kneels down on the stairs in plain sight of the security camera and attempts to detonate them from a distance. He knows, perhaps, that it is a long shot. The moment captured later, of him grabbing his bag and turning to walk down the stairs, is one that does not speak of defeat, not yet, but by that time his thoughts must have been racing at a million miles an hour already. The plan Reb had devised so very carefully centred around those bombs. Reb didn’t want another damn school shooting committed by what he perceived to be a weak spirit taking out only a few. No, he wanted to be remembered for destruction on a much larger scale. Reb wanted to go out with a bang quite literally and it must have grated on him that the grandness of his plan did not work out the way he had envisioned.

Even the ‘victory drink’ takes on new meaning in this regard. It is not just the victory of being in power that Eric raises the cup to, nor is it just a salute to his comrade in arms. It is the last-ever attempt to claw back to Reb, to let himself feel what was achieved that day, to not sink back into the despair of being such a fucking abject failure. It is the knowledge that he is never walking back out of the school alive, that it could all be over any given second, and that these final moments are again spent feeling what he’d spent the best part of the year avoiding. There is a brief, uplifting moment when they do finally get one of the bombs going enough to start a small fire — the boys may have thought it’d take and eventually explode, seeing as they left the commons briefly straight after. Then, of course, the fire died out and no chain reaction happened. It is that moment that is the most definite: everything that was wanted did not happen the way it should have, and the thing they’d be remembered for was not the grand moment it could have been.

There is dejection in Eric as he walks up the stairs that final time. There are the racing thoughts again, no longer calmed by the therapeutic levels of medication in his system at the time, and there come all the other things he denied himself. There maybe even comes the question if it was worth it, in the end. But larger than this, larger than anything, is the fact that he is alone again. Reb has nothing to cling to now that everything backfired and there is no grand showcase of power. There were seven minutes of lording his might over others, sure, and perhaps the final walk to the library was a reminder to himself that there was a tiny thing in all of this Reb would’ve considered to be success. But Eric walks alone, now, and there is nothing left that is strong enough to bring Reb back to the foreground. Not even the shoot-out with the cops would have been angering enough. The exchange is brief and doesn’t amount to much. There is no heart in it. No fight left.

It is not Reb who rises and walks away from the windows. It is not Reb who kneels down in front of the bookcase. The war in Eric’s mind is over for now. The last moments of his life are the clearest they have ever been. It is just Eric being alone with every single part of himself. The anger and outward hatred Reb showcased has faded. There is no more need to externalise the character he devised as a safety zone. It is Eric rising to walk away from the outside world forever. It is Eric kneeling down in front of the bookcase. It is Eric who can’t stand to be alone with himself. It is Eric who can’t handle, was never able to handle, all the emotions and hurt coming to the foreground. It is Eric deciding to stop himself short before the war he waged on himself continues again. It is Eric who knows that the only escape left to him now that all the rest has failed is something that will finally bring him something akin to peace. He said once that he didn’t know what was in the afterlife. His ideas about it seem to have varied from ‘nothing’ to ‘getting to look at life’s biggest mysteries’. It is uncertain for Eric where he will end up after, and yet it is an option more preferable to him than staying alive.

When it is time to die, Eric does not hesitate. He chooses the most unflinching manner of death possible. When he pulls the trigger, he aims directly for his head. Eric drops to the floor and is gone in an instant. The mind that brought him so much turmoil is silenced abruptly.


The idea that it was only the existence of Reb that brought Eric to commit to NBK is a faulty statement to make, even after examining the rollercoaster and inner turmoil leading up to that final day. There is an ownership of the murderous act inside Eric himself that cannot be erased or excused through his creation of the alter ego. The slippery slope he found himself on was one he, at times, certainly acknowledged and attempted to work with. At first, there is a sense of wanting to regain control over his emotions and reactions. Over time, it grows into a feeling of resignation and becomes a willful attempt to be that rebel kicking back at the world consistently and permanently. Eric commits to the idea of NBK with the thought that there is nothing else that could make an equally powerful statement. In that, perhaps, he was correct.

The creation of Reb was initially something to share with friends. A nickname that sounded ‘cool’ for all the stuff they got up to together. Over time, Reb evolved into the personification of everything Eric could not express freely in everyday life. Reb became the coping mechanism that eventually grew over his head entirely. Yet, the responsibility for Reb lies in Eric alone. The existence of the alter ego is not a free pass out of the terrible destruction caused by a young man, nor is it an excuse through which to diminish Eric’s own part in the act of NBK. Rather, it is another vantage point through which to see Eric and the years that led up to that final day in April. It’s a different look at a very, very complicated individual whose choices in life still have an impact on the world fifteen years later.



- by thedragonrampant (April 2014) -

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"Is evil something you are? Or is it something you do? My pain is constant and sharp and I do not hope for a better world for anyone. In fact, I want my pain to be inflicted on others. I want no one to escape."
- American Psycho - Bret Easton Ellis (1991)
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PostSubject: Re: Building 'Reb' - by thedragonrampant   Building 'Reb' - by thedragonrampant Icon_minitimeThu Apr 10, 2014 7:28 pm

Great Post !!


Quoted from Eric

"This is just a two man war against everything else"

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PostSubject: Re: Building 'Reb' - by thedragonrampant   Building 'Reb' - by thedragonrampant Icon_minitimeFri Apr 11, 2014 4:00 am

I also enjoyed this. Here are some random thoughts I had in response.

In my opinion, Columbine was Eric's attempt to live up to the fantasy version of himself.

And the creation of Reb was a way of ensuring that when the time came, he had no Eric to go back to.

Even then, he left himself escape hatches. I think girls were an escape hatch. If he could've gotten one, he could have saved face to Dylan and himself. The Marines, too.

But neither happened. So when he was sitting in the car, 11:17 having come and gone, he had a choice--are you Reb or Eric?
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PostSubject: Re: Building 'Reb' - by thedragonrampant   Building 'Reb' - by thedragonrampant Icon_minitimeFri Apr 11, 2014 4:31 pm

lasttrain wrote:
But neither happened. So when he was sitting in the car, 11:17 having come and gone, he had a choice--are you Reb or Eric?

Same thing with Eric in the library. Would Reb wanted to die a heroic death by getting taken down in a hail of bullets, or blow his head off?
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PostSubject: Re: Building 'Reb' - by thedragonrampant   Building 'Reb' - by thedragonrampant Icon_minitimeSun Apr 13, 2014 4:55 am

Yeah I agree JDM, and I also think the shootout with the campus police officer might have been an attempt to pull the plug early.

Ultimately I think the ammo was running low and the chance of getting merely injured was too high.
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PostSubject: Re: Building 'Reb' - by thedragonrampant   Building 'Reb' - by thedragonrampant Icon_minitimeWed Apr 16, 2014 11:50 pm

There are just so many things in this essay to sink our teeth into . Everybody would probably take from this piece something different, depending on what you read before and what you think. To me, these are the highlights:

-It’s interesting to note how the building of the Reb persona may come from Eric war-games as a child. He describes how he would play with his brother and friends in one school essay, saving the day. Really, the Reb-persona may have created terrible havoc once it was fully implemented but, at the beginning, it is truly a long-term, old coping mechanism for Eric. Maybe Reb if he had been fully integrated, would have some gold, some good heroic qualities to provide Eric with. But that’s not what happened. Which bring us to the ideas of the Shadow-self, a truly fascinating connection to make here.

-I just find the idea of the Shadow-self here so well-developed. It comes from Jungian analysis. We know that the Shadow can be integrated in the conscious personality. But in Eric there is a split Eric VS. Reb that forms, all the energy of Reb is never integrated consciously and Reb (the Shadow self) becomes the guiding force, creating complete mayhem in the end.

-Reb built up over time and the essay shows the progressive and uneven development of that creation. Even in the diary and with the transcript of the basement tapes, we can see that sometimes the Reb-persona, all war-like and angry, cracks open to let Eric through in certain entries, in certain videos. Even in the diversion papers, he’s still pretty honest when it comes to confiding he has homicidal and suicidal ideas. It is indeed really surprising when you think this young guy was planning a mission of destruction.

-We don’t talk about the effect his medication had on him too often but here, we can pinpoint a time when Eric was transition from one meds to another and during that time (May-July 1998), the idea of NBK is mentioned clearly and by name for the first time. We can see the alteration of Eric’s mind, a kind of back-and-forth between Eric and Reb while his medication is being adjusted. I had never heard of that significant period of time that could have had such an effect on the creation of Reb, maybe even encouraging it by wrecking his brain through lack of sleep and hormonal disruption through meds.

-It’s enlightening to see the Reb-persona analyzed to this extent, very precisely through journal entries and other material, to see Eric essentially become the mask and Reb bubbling right there under the surface but taking so much space.

-I've always wondering long and hard about those last three months of journal-silence from Eric. What must have been going through his mind? A battle was waging and we will never know if a different turnout could have happened then. Eric was losing ground but he does make an appearance here and there in Eric's journal and the last two Basement Tapes (as implied by the partial transcripts). I'll always wonder how Eric thought his ideas had changed during that period.

-Until the very end, that is. When I read the ending of this essay, I had a melancholic feeling seeing how the Eric-self is coming back to the forefront, having to face in only a few minutes what he must have felt was his personal failure. Having to face one last time his vulnerable self once the wrath was spent and see himself not as a victorious Reb as created in his mind. Even if Dylan was there, Eric was in his own world that day and ultimately, he did not wait for Dylan to die. He died alone and there was no Reb left, just Eric.

_________________
"Is evil something you are? Or is it something you do? My pain is constant and sharp and I do not hope for a better world for anyone. In fact, I want my pain to be inflicted on others. I want no one to escape."
- American Psycho - Bret Easton Ellis (1991)
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